“This Psalm is commonly known as the first of the Penitential Psalms, (the other six are 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) and certainly its language well becomes the lip of a penitent, for it expresses at once the sorrow, (verses 3, 6, 7), the humiliation (verses 2 and 4), and the hatred of sin (verse 8), which are the unfailing marks of the contrite spirit when it turns to God. O Holy Spirit, beget in us the true repentance which needs not to be repented of… [Then we shall know that] the coming of Christ into the soul in his priestly robes of grace is the grand hope of the penitent soul; and, indeed, in some form or other, Christ’s appearance is, and ever has been, the hope of the saints. (C.H. Spurgeon)
*Cardiphonia: Mr. Spurgeon sees this as a penitential psalm (i.e. a song mourning over sins committed), and it certainly may be. But it is also a simple heartfelt lament over sufferings experienced. Jesus suffered much and wept often in his life, as he grieved both the sins of others, and the sins that were placed on his shoulders on the Cross. He knew what it was like to be troubled (John 11:33-36). He was a Man of Sorrows, well‐acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3-4). Sometimes he grew weary of it all, and longed for deliverance. Out of the depths of his grief he even asked “How long” (Matthew 17:17)—even as God’s people do today (Revelation 6:9-10). With all that in view, it is not hard imagining Jesus praying or singing this Psalm in his darkened hours of sorrow.
But this psalm is also a lament—a deep heart cry for the Lord to come in merciful help through the dark valleys of life, when foes and woes besiege us, seemingly with no relief. Whether you imagine Jesus singing Psalm 6 in his lonely hours—or you actually sing it in your lonely and troubled hours, it is meant to be sung. Brothers and sisters: keep this lamenting song near to your heart, for you will need it soon. And unless you and I learn how to sing our sorrows as this psalm encourages, our sorrows will never find full relief.
* This term is derived from two Greek words—one meaning heart and the other meaning sounds or utterances. Thinking that he wouldn’t mind, I’ve borrowed the term from John Newton (author of Amazing Grace—and creator of his own hymnbook back in his 18th century days) to label my devotional reflections in which I share sounds and thoughts from my own heart that are prompted by each of the psalms—and the King whom they reveal. I hope that my cardiphonia will be filled with personal hints for the life of faith, as well as observations about Jesus as well; both for your blessing, and for mine.
Listen or Download MP3 (Audio)
View or Download Sheet Music (PDF)